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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

There is no doubt about it. Healthcare in the United States is in crisis and there doesn’t seem to be relief at any time in the near future. As a DNP you could help strengthen an ailing healthcare system in more ways than one. From helping to fill in the gap left by a shortage of medical doctors, to providing more affordable care to patients, there are so many ways in which a DNP can be a part of the solution to a brighter future in healthcare.

1. Fill the Gap Left by the Shortage of Doctors

As recently as March of this year, what is being referred to by CNN as a “troubling report” issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) stated that a shortage of physicians is only expected to get worse as time goes on. A nurse practitioner doctorate degree from leading schools like Bradley University would enable you to provide many of the very same services MDs offer, but with a degree that takes a bit less time to achieve and can largely be completed online. The only part of taking your MSN to DNP online that you couldn’t do through remote studies would be a practicum where required.

2. Provide Affordable Care

Anyone who has followed any local or national news whatsoever over the past decade knows that health care in the United States is anything but affordable. Even Obamacare didn’t provide healthcare insurance to as many people as had been predicted, making the Affordable Care Act a failure in the eyes of many experts. Online doctoral nursing programs could offer a solution to this problem. Most health insurance providers pay DNPs at a lower rate than MDs or Dos, which would cut an enormous amount of an already overextended healthcare budget.

3. Work in Executive Positions

Whether you choose to work as a DNP in the field seeing patients or study DNP executive leadership programs online to be part of the solution in administration, DNPs can be a huge part of fixing an ailing health care system. It seems as though the system is lacking leadership that understands healthcare at the grassroots level. As a nurse who has worked in the field, you would be well-qualified to understand where services are failing a growing number of patients. Nurses and doctors often have a different vantage point due to the types of services they render, and so a DNP would bring much to the executive table.

There is no time like the present to advance your career while working to strengthen the healthcare system you are a vital part of as a nurse. Whether you have a BSN or an MSN, you can easily take your career to the next level by studying online while maintaining your connection to the medical community. You will not need to leave nursing behind while studying for a doctorate degree and you may even find that as you progress in your studies, your pay rate will rise proportionately, even before getting that doctorate as a nurse practitioner – and who could afford to refuse a raise?